Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Myth of Free Health Care

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, independent
(but caucuses with the Senate Democrats), who was
recently a candidate for the presidency,  met up with a
Swedish reporter who claimed that "(Swedes pay)
like next to nothing" for health care. I suppose the
Swede was trying to one-up socialist Sanders, who
is a big proponent of President Obama's Affordable
Health Care Plan (a/k/a Obamacare). As we know,
Obama's health care scheme is anything but affordable
for so many Americans who have already enrolled in
it; the premiums are astronomical, then there's the

But it was stated by a reader of The Wall Street Journal,
who related this event in a letter to the editor which the WSJ
published on June 17 of last year that the Swedes pay for
the upkeep of their system with a tax, which all Swedes must
pay. Additionally, there is a copay for every doctor's visit.
Therefore, this is not free health care. This, by the way, is
common knowledge to anyone who pays any attention to
this subject.

Your inquisitive Peasant mentions this wee bit of news only
because, as so many conservatives are convinced that Obama's
plan is the gateway to a system which would be similar to
Sweden's, or at least to that of Canada's single-payer program,
this could loom in our future if Obamacare is not
finally repealed. Sharing this view, I can state that we think
that the present system forced on us by Obama and the
Democrats was not meant to operate all that smoothly,
especially concerning the costs to be paid for the policies
along with the associated costs. Thus the Dems could, and
would, replace that system with a completely government-run
system, all in the name of guaranteeing controlled costs and
efficiency. Problem is, the efficiency would be not unlike
that of too many other programs administered by Uncle Sam
and the costs would still be steep --- our tax burdens would
bear that out.

Socialism isn't free; it's not even cheap!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Thank You for Seven Fantastic Years!

My dear and wonderful readers, your grateful Peasant
wants to thank you for seven fantastic years together
here at this blog! From the day, September 23, 2009
when we first got together to examine and discuss
the news and issues facing us, we have covered much
and learned even more, enjoying the journey as we
went. And I am so thankful for your all coming along
for the ride!

You are the reason I write and publish "Peasant
With A Pitchfork". You gather round every week
to read my take on the political and economic
news of the day, giving the conservative perspective
in a way that speaks, I hope, to your concerns and
puts things in a way that sparks something in each of
you, to stir you to action by contacting your elected
representatives and the president, to gather your families,
friends and neighbors to discuss what to do about a
particular issue and its inherent challenges, or perhaps
even to run for elected office yourselves. And to have
some fun while we gather here at this blog site!

God bless you all, I treasure each and every one of you,
even though I haven't met most of you and may never!
And God bless America!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Maximum Rage Over the Minimum Wage

Although California Governor Jerry Brown is as staunch
a liberal Democrat as you are ever likely to find, he recently
balked at raising his state's minimum wage, already well
above the present national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour,
stating that it would "put a lot of poor people out of work".
However, he regained his ideological moorings, relearned his
ideological catechism, and signed into law a bill mandating
raising California's minimum wage to $15 per hour, the lofty
new wage floor to reach this mandated level by 2022.

Gov. Brown made a bargain with Democrat lawmakers and union
leaders to jack up the minimum wage in their state every year
for the next six years until the targeted wage is reached. California's
current minimum wage is $10 per hour, considerably above the
aforementioned current U.S. minimum wage, but the union chieftans
want to hike California's wage because --- dirty little secret --- the
unions' contracts all mandate that the workers in their rank-and-file
membership MUST be paid AT LEAST a certain percentage above
the prevailing minimum wage in the state where they work. The
more the workers are paid, the more the union can charge and extract
from them in union dues. This is standard practice with unions all
over the country, and it is of course why unions are big fans of the
minimum wage.

Ah, but here's the rub: Many California workers will become jobless.
Why? Employers will not pay more for in labor costs than they think
the labor is worth, governmental mandates be damned. So while they
will have to pay their employees at least the new minimum wage of
$15, the minimum wage law does not mandate that they have to keep,
let alone hire, more workers at that wage level. What will these firms
do? For starters, they can automate their workplaces. They will simply
acquire machines, or computers, or robotics to perform the tasks that
they used to hire people to do via their physical activity. Another tack
that employers can take is to cut their staff and parcel out the tasks that
their low-level workers used to perform to their remaining workers who
are up a step or two on the company rungs, increasing their workloads.
And the employers figure that even after increasing the wages of these
workers in exchange for assigning them more work, they will still save
on wages by not having the low-level workers that they used to employ
and having to pay them artificially-inflated wages, inflated by govern-
ment fiat.

The unemployment rates in various cities and regions of California are
presently at dire levels: Fresno's rate is currently 10.5%, Merced suffers
from a 12.6%  rate of joblessness. These are just two examples of that
state's troubling situation. And the legislation Gov. Brown signed into
law will only exacerbate these numbers and their accompanying pain,
while benefiting the union and Gov. Brown, along of course
with his fellow Democrats who have not just control but dominance
over both chambers of California's legislature, as these Dems all receive
most generous campaign donations from their union supporters.
And this law is being handed down at a time of great economic hard-
ship, much of it due to the caprices of the Democrat's Fearless Leader
in the White House.

The California Department of Finance had, in 2015, opposed a gradual,
more modest increase in the state's minimum wage to $13 per hour due
to "significant, unbudgeted costs." California would, for example, have
had to pay billions in higher wages for government workers, even
seasonal employees at parks. The CDF's analysis also found that the
minimum wage raise would make for slower job and income growth,
thus claiming considerable tax revenue. Unemployment benefits to
resultant displaced workers would have soared to $115 million by this
current year, and over a half-billion dollars by 2019 with the climbing

People and businesses have already been leaving California in droves
over the past few years thanks to the already towering minimum wage
there, along with astronomic taxes and entangling regulations. Texas
and Florida are favorite places of refuge for the departing beleaguered
Californians, as these states have fewer taxes, less regulation, and
lower minimum wage levels. But with Gov. Brown, the Democrat
legislators in Sacramento, and their union pals, it's Statism uber alles,
and anyone choosing to remain in California has to live and deal with

There is a lesson for the rest of the country here. Let us pray that it will
be learned and profited from.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

On Deplorable Behavior

Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton recently
lambasted the supporters, well, half of them, of her
Republican opponent Donald Trump "a basket of
deplorables" in New York at an exclusive Manhattan
fundraising event. She elaborated that these people
were "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic,
Islamophobic, you name it,". Your quizzical Peasant
wonders what she thinks of the other half of Trump's
supporters then?

Well, one doesn't have to wonder very much if one is
at all familiar with the former First Lady and her public
pronouncements. Even in a rough-and-tumble, no-holds-
barred, anything goes field such as American politics
she is an especially nasty, vituperative, poisonous
figure, even by left-wing standards. She should realize,
though apparently she doesn't, that such attacks are much
more likely to backfire than to advance a candidate's
chances for victory. Just four years ago GOP presidential
hopeful Mitt Romney remarked, also at a private fundraising
event, that 47% of the American electorate were
moochers who "believe they are victims" and that "(his) job
(was) not to worry about those people". Romney was
widely castigated, then defeated by incumbent President
Obama in the general election. Although I personally don't
believe that he actually meant the perceived awfulness of
his words, that he was instead trying to point out that a certain
segment of American voters truly but wrongly believe that
they are not financially successful because they are subject
to the whim of others, and think that their best chance to
remedy this is to vote for candidates who would take from
the more successful and dole out to these people, Romney's
gist was lost behind a questionable choice of words.
Clinton is, on the other hand, simply mean and mean-spirited,
and now she has had her own "47% moment". We'll see
what the consequences of it are.

Then across the pond, as the British refer to the Atlantic Ocean,
the recent fierce battle between those who want Britain to leave
the European Union (the Brexit backers) and those wanting Britain
to stay (the Remain backers) was likely decided by remarks
uttered by prominent members of the latter camp regarding
the Brexit advocates, remarks similar in vehement nature to
those made by Clinton against Trump's backers.

What your deplorable Peasant is trying to convey here is the point
that if one attacks one's opponent and/or one's opponent's supporters
too harshly, there could be a boomerang effect. And even when
making such utterances in the company of one's most ardent
supporters, one must know that one's words are very apt to travel,
traveling to both one's foes and to the general public, some of whom
may not have made up their minds yet but would be swayed
by said remarks toward one's challenger. And it doesn't look
becoming for one to spew such venom in place of sharing ideas
on how one would govern and what the resultant benefits would be.
But then Clinton doesn't have any ideas that would be at all
beneficial; she would merely take over from President Obama
if elected and be the liberals' Phase 2 in transforming our country
into a socialist wasteland. So Hillary does what Hillary does best:
hurl invective.

And as such Hillary Clinton has only disdain for the very people
whom she would rule with the iron hand of statism. Do carry on,
Hillary. You're making our efforts to defeat you in November go
all the more smoothly!

Deplorably Yours,

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly, R.I.P.

A true star in the conservative firmament, a grand lady
and patriot, a sterling example of a citizen using her right
to speak up about our governance and to participate in
our political process, Phyllis Schlafly, passed away on
Monday September 5, at the age of 92.

Born Phyllis McAlpin Stewart in Saint Louis, Missouri
on August 15, 1924, the eldest daughter of a
machinist and industrial equipment salesman father
and a schoolteacher mother, the Stewart family
was hit hard by the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Schlafly's mother went to work at various jobs which
included librarian at the Saint Louis, elementary school-
teacher and department store saleswoman. Mrs. Stewart
decried having to work outside their home rather than be
a homemaker and work for good causes, such as aiding
charities. Schlafly's quarrel with women who denigrated
homemaking and ridiculed homemakers originated
when she watched her mother sacrifice her time at home
with her husband and children. Contrary to what radical
feminists believed, Schlafly never said that women should
not work outside the home, but instead advocated that
women who wanted to be home to take care of home
and family should have their choice respected. Funny how
that works; left-wingers want their choices and wishes
respected and validated, but not those of others who may
want different things. One of those great political mysteries,
along with how deficit spending and increasing debt improves
the health of the economy.

Schafly received a law degree from Washington University
in Saint Louis, and received a scholarship to study political
science at Radcliffe, and earned a master's degree while there.
In subsequent years she was introduced to conservatism,
met and married her husband, John F. Schlafly Jr., himself an
attorney and a member of a politically-engaged conservative

Among her achievements in her long and rich life were
founding The Eagle Forum, an organization which champions
limited government and adherence to the Constitution.
When feminists advocated for the passage of the
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s, Schlafly and her
organization successfully fought to prevent its passage.
When she debated prominent feminist author Betty Friedan
on the ERA, Friedan told her that she should burn at the stake
for opposing its passage, and called Schlafly an "Aunt Tom".
Schlafly calmly pointed out that this was the difference between
how conservatives maintain civility while disagreeing while
the lefties simply attack whoever dares to disagree with their
points, as they have nothing else to battle back with ---
like facts and logic. Schlafly had always maintained that we have
enough laws on the books, at all levels of government, to ensure
the rights of women in all areas of their lives.

Schlafly also was deeply involved in the pro-life movement,
speaking out for the unborn so as to provide a voice to the
voiceless. She fought to preserve their vulnerable lives and
to preserve the sanctity of human life with the same zeal she
brought to the other causes which she worked for.

The main accomplishment which Phyllis Schlafly achieved
in all her political activism has been to tell the radical feminists
that they did not speak for all women, because they didn't speak
for her, let alone millions of American women who, like
Schlafly, were uncomfortable with their radical notions regarding
women and society, and weren't going to let them dictate how
they and society were going to be. Dissent is indeed patriotic,
and Phyllis Schlafly was one of its greatest practitioners.

Rest in peace, gallant lady. A job well done.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Socialism and Student Loans

Of late some financially shaky colleges have been
receiving help from Washington with their student
loan default troubles. While it is sadly true that some
of the students struggling to pay off their loans have
found themselves in tough straits despite their efforts
to be responsible and timely with their payments, some
others have treated their loans as giveaways, veritable
entitlements from Uncle Sam. Moreover, it looks
like the federal government and the taxpayers have
been, and still are being taken for a ride.

The eager willingness of Washington to institute and
implement socialistic programs, along with their inept-
itude in managing them make it a fantasy that the
federal folks would ever, could ever one day manage
these programs efficiently and inexpensively. And
some colleges greatly encourage students to take out
student loans as an open-ended revenue source with
little or no downside. After all, the government will
always step in to guarantee that the colleges will always
get their money, won't it? So these schools have no
real incentive nor discipline to refrain from raising
tuition costs for their students. And now the two leading
Democrat presidential candidates are calling for free
college educations, at least two years' worth, for
newly-graduated high school students? Guess who's
going to be stuck with the tab for that? On top of what
all they've been stuck with for the costs of the many
defaulted loans that have been accumulating over the
years? Socialism comes with a big price tag!

Your frustrated Peasant says that the colleges should
be made to assume at least some of the risks and the
resultant pain from the student loans that they toss at
their incoming students. And the students have to be
made to realize that their student loans are not unlike
any other types of loans, i.e. auto, home equity, and
such in that while less difficult payment terms can
be negotiated and arranged, the loans are still loans,
and therefore are financial obligations which must be
met. In short, they must be paid, interests and all.
And Washington officials have to be made to realize
that we are not their piggy banks!